Turkana county is situated northern Kenya, about 700km from Nairobi, Turkana County, Turkana is the second largest county in Kenya covering 68,680 square kilometres.its described as the cradle of humankind. Turkana County is one of marginalized communities in Kenya during era of centralized national government. The county has benefited enormously from devolution and health being a devolved unit. The county had an increase of numbers of health facilities, in the last decade were less health facilities and currently we have 224 health facilities public and private included. Turkana being host community of Tullow oil ( leading independent oil & gas, exploration and production group) and beneficiaries of part of Tullow’s social investment projects in Turkana, Tullow spent Ksh140 million in building three level 4 hospitals, each at Lokichar(not yet operating) Lokori and Kanamkemer.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), availability of skilled and motivated health workers in sufficient numbers is critical in attaining better healthcare outcomes. 2years and some months ago ,Kenya Service Availability and Readiness Assessment Mapping (SARAM) ,conducted a study that there is only one health worker for every in 2,456 people, while in Turkana and Kisi counties the ratio is 1:2,148 and 1:1,930 respectively. In regard to that my expectation is that the Turkana County would have increased the distribution of health workers for every health facility per person. In term of special care Lodwar County and Referral has improved tremendously such that Ethiopians, Ugandans and south Sudanese visit the facility mainly to seek for specialized care.
Health is a devolved functional unit-that’s health workers can be recruited at count level. To access the services, proximity to health facilities is also factor to consider. Since 2013, the distance between health facilities has reduced from 50-20kms in Turkana County, simply because of converting so many dispensaries into health centers and equipping other new dispensaries. What does this imply? – Its means accessibility to health facilities has been enhanced. also ideally, increase in numbers of health facilities and conversion of dispensaries to health centers is the indictor of heightened numbers of health workers .we have approximately more than 800 health workers in Turkana county . According to Kenya and US Agency for international development through Human Resource for Health Capacity Bridge Project, 85% of the health workforce are not originally from Turkana County. What has attracted and caused the retain of health workers is due to some incentives such as;
- New staff housing,
- Improvement of occupational safety and health measures
- Promotion from one job group to another along with instant update of files to correspond change in job groups.
- Medical insurance for staff
- County pays membership fees both registration and renewal for staffs.
Water and sanitation are integrally used together. No water, no sanitation, since immemorial the biblical perspective also shows how cleanliness is vital, has it say “cleanliness is next to God “. According to our constitution every Kenyan is entitled to live in a healthy environment. What we have to work on as a county and other stakeholders in partnership with, is to improve the wanting and a sorry state of sanitation in the county. According to water and sanitation program (WSP) , Improved sanitation was 6.6% and unimproved was 5.6 % but what is more problematic is that there were more people practicing open defecation(OD) which was 82.1 %(WSP,2014), there is a wide gap and community total lead sanitation is needed to improve sanitation. I remember a times back in 2014, Lokwamosing village in Turkana County was facing a looming disease outbreak as result of improper human waste disposal, moreover out of 352 households, only 12 have pit latrines, forcing many residents to use the bushes to relieve themselves and that’s open defecation
Malnutrion is also the most prevalent health condition in Turkana County. Most of the children are vulnerable to malnutrition. Severely malnourished child is more times susceptible to diseases due compromised immunity as compared to nourished child. This is more pronounce during disastrous emergencies where by health system is impaired and who suffer most are vulnerable groups. Turkana County being one of arid and semi-arid ,with UNICEF support of bi-weekly integrated outreach and screenings which were done in the most affected sub-counties of turkana. The main objective of the outreaches were screening and on spot treatment of acutely malnourished children, treatment of childhood illness, immunization and vitamin Supplementation
Turkana informative health generally is concluding that health in turkana is improving as compared to last decade. But there’s a bit lagging in the side of sanitation such that most of the people still practicing open defecation.